Polar regions

The Paradox of Antarctic Sea Ice in a warming world: Research vessel trapped by summer sea ice

Akademik Shokalskiy trapped by sea ice in AntarcticaAkademik Shokalskiy trapped by sea ice in AntarcticaI came across an article lambasting the Australian Antarctic Expedition scientists on board the MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped by fast ice since Christmas Eve in the Commonwealth Bay region of Antarctica. Climate scientists and tourists are on board the vessel on the Spirit of Mawson voyage, retracing Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic expedition.

The ship found itself locked in thick ice after experiencing blizzard conditions which moved and piled up ice flows.

West Antarctic ice sheet melting accelerates over last 4 years

By Tim Radford. The rate of ice loss from the West Antarctic appears to have accelerated sharply in the last four years, European scientists say.

LONDON, 20 December - Ice is being lost over the West Antarctic ice sheet at a faster rate. The European Space Agency’s Cryosat - a satellite with a radar altimeter that can peer through the clouds and see in the dark - has confirmed  that 150 cubic kilometres of ice are drifting into the Southern Ocean each year: a much faster rate than the calculation for 2010.

After observations between 2005 and 2010, gathered by 10 different satellite missions, Antarctic scientists and oceanographers calculated that the melting of ice from the West Antarctic peninsula was causing global sea levels to rise by 0.28mm a year. The latest survey suggests this rate is 15% higher.

Loss of Arctic sea ice affecting temperate zones

By Tim Radford. Weather extremes in temperate countries may be the consequence of the melting of Arctic snow and ice, according to Chinese and American scientists.

Volcanic activity adds further to instability of West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Volcanic activity detected near the Executive Committee range in Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica adds another factor to the instability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). A small eruption under the ice could result in melt water adding substantial lubrication to the bottom of a portion of the ice sheet, speeding up the ice stream discharge into the Ross Sea.

Arctic Sunrise Greenpeace activists charged with piracy in Russia over Arctic oil protest

From peaceful action to dramatic seizure: a timeline of events since the Arctic Sunrise took action to save the Arctic from oil drilling on September 18 (CET). Take Action to Free the Arctic 30 Now!


Antarctic Peninsula: nonlinear intensification of melt unprecedented in last 1000 years

James Ross island, Antarctic PeninsulaJames Ross island, Antarctic PeninsulaThis study analysing an Antarctic Peninsula ice core from James Ross island has determined that there has been a ten fold increase in melt intensity over the last 600 years. I reported recently that the Antarctic Peninsula summer melt season prolonged by global warming according to research from the British Antarctic Survey.

"The warming has occurred in progressive phases since about AD 1460, but intensification of melt is nonlinear, and has largely occurred since the mid-twentieth century. Summer melting is now at a level that is unprecedented over the past 1,000 years. We conclude that ice on the Antarctic Peninsula is now particularly susceptible to rapid increases in melting and loss in response to relatively small increases in mean temperature." concludes the study.

Antarctic Octopus genetics reveals past West Antarctic Ice sheet collapse

It seems the genetics of the Antarctic Octopus is showing us how fragile the West Antarctic Ice sheet (WAIS) may be with global warming. It raising questions about the ice sheet susceptibility to collapse.

Antarctic Peninsula summer melt season prolonged by global warming

The melt season on the Antarctic Peninsula has been getting much longer over the last 60 years, at some locations doubling in length according to the research lead by Dr Nick Barrand of the British Antarctic Survey. Increased melting season increases the melting stress of ice shelves which hold back significant glacier discharge and sea level rise.

Related: Global Warming on West Antarctic Ice Sheet three times the global average | Global Warming in Antarctica: Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers accelerating, West Antarctic Ice Sheet losing mass | Waking the giant: Global Warming in the Weddell Sea, West Antarctic Ice Sheet and sea level rise | Why sea ice extent in Antarctica is growing slightly | On the brink: Penguins face an uncertain climate future

Sea ice reduction disturbs Arctic greenhouse gas balance

The diminishing Arctic sea-ice extent is resulting in changes in how greenhouse gases interact between the land, ocean and atmosphere according to a new study.

"Changes in the balance of greenhouse gases can have major consequences because, globally, plants and the oceans absorb around half of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the air through the use of fossil fuels. If the Arctic component of this buffer changes, so will the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere", says Dr Frans-Jan Parmentier, a researcher at Lund University, Sweden, and lead author of the study.

Greenland melting occurring during winter with above average temperatures

Satellite data for the first several weeks of 2013 is showing that melting is occurring in south east Greenland. In summer this would be expected, but January-February is the dead of winter. Some portions of Greenland have experienced more than 30 days of melting since the start of this year, a worrying trend.

According to email correspondence with Ted Scambos from National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) sent to Tom Yulsman, all of Greenland has been 2 to 6 degrees C warmer than the 30 year mean. Tom quotes Ted Scambos on his blog: "Air temperatures along the southeastern coast for the period Feb 10 – 15 are running 2 to 6 C above normal. Nuuk, the capital, on the very southern west coast, is currently just a couple of degrees below freezing."

Related: Is Climate Change causing an exponential rate of Ice sheet Mass Loss, sea level rise? | Global Warming threshold for Greenland Ice Sheet collapse reduced to 1.6 degrees C

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